i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)i am never without it(anywhere i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling) i fear no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true) and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you here is the deepest secret nobody knows (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide) and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart - e.e. cummings
There are so many reasons that I shouldn’t have gone Israel this summer. Heck, by the time the trip came around, I was 10 days past the age cut-off! Travelling with complete strangers, without the security blanket of familiarity, put me out of my comfort level, to say the least. At JFK, I constantly called E, sobbing, asking him to let me come home. I was grateful for the opportunity, but so unsure of why I had it.
I’ve been home for almost 6 months, and it’s taken me this long to fully absorb the situation, to understand the why’s instead of the how’s. Long story short? It was meant to be.
In ten days, I saw so much of the country, and was constantly on the move. I learned to make a tour bus feel like home, to have almost 30 strangers feel like family.
I was surrounded by art, mysticism and amazing falafel in Safed; rode a camel in the middle of the desert. I prayed at the Western Wall, sat in the same place on Mount Masada where I was Bat Mitzvah’d. I had (a vegetarian!) dinner in a Bedouin tent and swam in the Mediterranean. I cried at Yad Vashem, and laughed loud and long, covered in mud, and floated in the Dead Sea.
I hiked, swam, rode and rafted; sometimes in the front, and others in the back. Not once was I alone, physically, emotionally or spiritually. When I struggled, there was someone to carry me through, and at times, I was that person for others. Not once did I count a calorie. Not once was I ashamed of my arms, stretch marks or thighs. Not once did I hold back from a conversation or activity out of fear or feelings of not being good enough. Not once was I ever not good enough.
Pictures may say thousands of words, and for the first time in a very long time, they’re written all over my face. See that smile? The one in every picture? 100% genuine, my friends.
I went to Israel, looking for a free trip, and I ended up taking quite the journey. At some point, at some time, that nagging little voice inside my soul went silent, as if the Universe was whispering, “shhhhhhhh”.
Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle. It’s work to get through the day, and it takes prioritizing, evaluating and learning to step back in order to do it. The difference between before Israel and after Israel? I want to make it work. I want to grow, to breathe, to be better. I want to be the kind of person that others look up to, and be involved in my community. I want to be a positive force, and be a wife, sister, daughter and aunt that my family is not only proud of, but likes and respects. It’s not about the next 10 pounds or 5 years, even though I’m still aiming for those. Some days might be awful, and some may be filled with light and laughter. And that’s okay. It’s okay to have good days and bad, and even ones that are just okay. I’m not making excuses or giving up; I’m allowing myself to feel, and to be human. Now that I’ve tasted happiness, I’m not willing to give up the craving.
Today’s guest post is courtesy of Angela of Lost in Splendor. Angela was the first person I think I ever connected with in the blog world, and we’ve been friends ever since. She’s optimistic, cynical and artsy, which a flair for colour. She is a bunny mom who lives with her partner KC, and is an admin for the Color Me Happy Swaparooni on Flickr. We’ve both been suffering a case of blogging malaise recently, and hopefully this will help bring her back to blogging. Enjoy!
Hello Everyone! My name is Angela and I blog at www.lostinsplendor.com. I have been blogging since 2003, but when I started my blog I worked at a job that had me sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day so I had plenty of time to devote to writing. I now work at a job that has me driving in a car for 12 hours a day. Needless to say my blogging life has suffered immensely. I was very touched when Carly asked me to be a guest blogger and I choose the topic Grow with high hopes of writing a fabulous entry. I think it slipped my mind why my own blog is rarely updated as it is now 24 hours from the deadline she gave me with about one hour free to complete my entry. Why am I such a procrastinator! I’m supposed to be writing about how I have grown as a person. Sorry Carly!
Instead of trying to cram in an entry and give you something not worthy of your time I am instead sharing with you one of my favorite entries and one that I feel everyone can get something out of.
My Favorite Relationship Advice
From time to time people ask me for relationship advice. I sort of find this insane usually. I mean my last relationship sort of crashed and burned to the ground and that makes me feel VERY unqualified to give any sort of advice on relationships. People should be giving me advice, in my opinion. Then they bring up the point that my last relationship, even as bad as it was at times, made it to six and a half years and my current one just passed the one year mark so I must be doing something right.
I got to thinking about that. Is it really me doing something right? I don’t know. There are some things that I make sure to do especially in this new relationship to try to keep things fresh and the romance alive. It’s just what works for me. I think everyone has to find what works best in their own situation. In any case, I bring you this list of my favorite relationship advice.
1. Take all relationship advice with a grain of salt. This sort of echoes what I wrote above, but it bears repeating. What might work perfectly for one couple may turn weird and awkward in your own. I enjoy reading relationship articles and I would say about 85% of the time I find the advice to be complete crap. Especially if that advice is found in Redbook. (For instance, I recently read an article on sweet little things you can do to show your significant other that you care. One of the tips was sneak onto “his” computer and change “his” screen saver to a picture of you. That might be sweet to someone, but in most cases I think it would be taken as creepy, narcissistic and it lacks respect for the others privacy.)
2. Do the little things that show you care. Last night I had to pick Kasey up at work at 9:00 pm. She seemed stressed and tired when I talked to her on the phone earlier so I wanted to something special for her. So I called her favorite restaurant an hour before she was done working and ordered her BBQ wings to go. I had to drive a half hour to pick them up and a half hour back, but when I told her I had gotten her dinner she seemed so touched it was supremely worth it. It cost about $10 for the wings and fries and $5 for the gas, but meant so much to her. It’s hard to remember to do something everyday, but I think doing something nice at least 3 times a week is a great start.
3. Be an individual and have your own interests. Sure Kasey thinks me making 1000 paper cranes is insane, but she enjoys telling people I’m into origami and talking to me about it. Would she ever eat eel? Probably not. However, she is always more than willing to pick me up some sushi and she loves that I am adventurous with foods. I could also go into rants about feminism and how I hate it when women walk all over rights other women fought for and she’ll nod and listen. On the other hand I find it really sexy how much she loves music and how she plays the drums and the piano. We don’t like the same movies all the time, but few things are cuter than her telling me all about some trailer she saw for some new action movie. Oh and the reading. How hot is a butch that can read for hours? I love that! I don’t want to be with someone just like me and I don’t think anyone would.
4. Have sex. Sex is one of those topics I am unbelievably open about conversationally, but I keep it to a whisper here. I’m not unlike a gay man with my sexual desires so I try to keep that to myself online as much as possible. In any case, I think it’s very important to the well being of a relationship to have consistent sex. I’m currently not sure myself how consistent that should be. I guess it’s something you should figure out for yourself, but in any relationship I think you shouldn’t let anymore than two months pass without having sex with each other. It helps keep that bond alive and makes you feel closer. Even better is if you can agree on new sexual situations that you both want to explore. That will make the bond even deeper. (Though exploring something your not comfortable with will have the adverse effects.) I have been trying to keep the love alive so to speak about twice a week, but I’m not sure if this is too much or not. Personally, I’m one of those people who thinks it could never be too much. (TMI?)
5. Speak up for yourself. This is probably the one I am worst at. Sometimes it is hard to be assertive and tell the other one when you are ticked off. To keep a relationship functioning properly it’s really important to bring it up when something is ticking you off. Do it in a productive way, though. Don’t just freak out about something and start yelling. Bring it up calmly and tell them what is bothering you.
6. Be uplifting. Maybe your partner has big dreams. Whats wrong with a little ambition? As long as they aren’t letting it rule their lives they will feel really good about you supporting them. It’s also important to compliment their good points. Did they wash the dishes, clean up after the pets, remember to call you? Let them know how much you appreciate that. What about their appearance? New haircut? Wearing a nice outfit? Tell them! Everyone likes getting complimented, your partner included.
7. Don’t try to get them to be someone their not. If the person you are with drinks a lot of beer and watches sports daily don’t get committed to them thinking they will change. Maybe they will, but more then likely that is just part of who they are. If you can’t deal with that then they probably aren’t for you. This brings me to my next point…
8. Know when to call it quits. This is a big one. It’s also hard. Sometimes it just isn’t working out and as hard as you try it’s just not going to work. You can drag it out and both be miserable or you can go your separate ways and find someone who is better for you. This might make you miserable for a while to, but no one should compromise themselves or who they are for someone else.
9. Be comfortable around the other person. You know that commercial where the woman promises never to wear a flannel nightgown? I hate that commercial. If you can’t handle the thought of your future partner in a flannel nightgown you can’t handle marriage. I will certainly be sleeping in comfortable pajamas. I will walk around the house in sweatpants. You know what? It certainly makes them take notice when the sexy lingerie comes out. You should be able to be yourself around your spouse. Myself wears sweats at home and talks about how much my vagina hurts when I have my period.
10. Touch is important. I read once that the average American couple only touches twice a day including sex. That really surprised me. I think touch is so important. It is comforting and will bring you and your partner closer. Add in little bits of touch to your day. Perhaps a massage before bed? Stroking their face? Rubbing their head? It all makes a big difference in how close the two of you feel.
11. Does your face light up? Sometimes Oprah may seem full of crap, but some of her advice has really impacted my life. She was once talking about how it’s important when looking at children for your face to light up when you see them or when they walk in the room. It shows that you love them, care about them and are happy to see them. It’s great advice that I think has a huge impact. I think it’s great to use it with your significant other too. Does your face show them how happy you are to see them?
12. A kiss goodbye and a friendly greeting make all the difference. It takes so little time to kiss your partner goodbye, but many times it’s overlooked. It’s a little thing that really means a lot. Also when reuniting after a day apart take a little time to reconnect. How was your day? It’s so lovely to see you. Again the little things that mean a lot. I hear you. I see you. I love you.
13. Find new things to experience with each other. Whether it’s going to a new town together, trying a new restaurant or taking a class together to learn something new it’s fun and exciting to try something new with your partner. It gives you more to talk about and maybe you both love it and maybe you don’t, but it’s important to switch up the routine sometimes.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and thank you Carly for inviting me to share on your wonderful website.
Thanks to Nicci of Nifty Eats for today’s guest post. When she’s not working a loaded schedule as the executive assistant for a non-profit, Nicci is out living life with no apologies. By pursuing her passion for healthy living through her culinary experiments and indulging in her love for yoga, pilates and running, Nicci is living healthy with style, and encouraging others to do the same.
State (born): North Dakota
State (currently living in): Great Sate of Texas
Marital Status: Taken but not married
Pets: 1 extremely cute miniature border collie
Favorite thing to blog about: Food, Fitness and Fun. Learning how to fuel my body with exercise and cook easy Nifty meals.
Hi ”Live Laugh Grow” readers, I’m Nicci over at Nifty Eats. I was excited to do a Guest Post for Carly while she is away in Israel.
My favorite ”Live Laugh Grow” moments…
The thought of a sour drink that’s good for you….sure. [full story here]
(what a face)
Hardcore Breast Cancer Awareness Boot Camp
Heart pumping workout for a good cause [full story]
Living, Laughing and Growing in this new adventure everyday!!
Today’s guest post is courtesy of Mary, who may just be one of the busiest bloggers I know. Between her three blogs, planning a cross-country road trip in July and a move across the globe in August, and publishing her acclaimed e-book “A Merry Life Guide to Creating a Better Health Blog,” she’s definitely got her plate full. Mary’s busy creating a healthy and happy life for herself, and inspiring countless others, myself included, to do the same.
For some reason I procrastinated hardcore on writing this guest post. I waited and waited for inspiration to strike. Even though I write a weightloss blog every day I couldn’t figure out what to write. I even jokingly asked Kepa, another guest poster here, to write a post for me. His suggestion: “Live, Laugh, and Grow”. I love doing two of those things! The third, however, I’m trying to do the opposite ” Needless to say I finally got my act together and here I am.
One thing I wanted to actually include from the blog Kepa wrote was this:
“I know I’m worth it to be happy, to have and do the things I want. And you are too. Don’t shrink from opportunities to shine. You only have one life, so make the most of it.”
I try to make the most of my life. Long ago I decided traveling and having new, exciting experiences were important to me. Since I made that decision I have studied abroad and traveled through Europe, I’ve visited the majority of states in the US, and I’ve traveled to Australia and New Zealand. I’m now planning on making a one year move to New Zealand starting in August. I’ve gone a lot of places and done a lot of exciting things in a relatively short few years. I’ve also gone paragliding and bungee jumping and I’ve done even more crazy exciting activities. Living is something I know how to do.
The quote I included points out the reason why I do these things and others: because I want and deserve to be happy. That realization after a struggle with depression was one of the biggest growing moments of my life. I still struggle to put it into action, but I know that deep down I deserve to be happy and do things that make me happy. I deserve to laugh every day and enjoy each day thoroughly. So do you. So does everyone. Life is too short, and you only get one of them, so you better spend it well doing things that make you happy. Wasting your life really shouldn’t even be an option.
So go enjoy your life. You are worth it to be happy, to have and do the things you want. Go live. Go laugh. Go do something that will help you grow. Enjoy!